Archive for At The Gates

Beyond Shadows – Wolf’s Blood

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 16th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Beyond Shadows
Wolf’s Blood
Released May 2020
Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Beyond Shadows - Wolf's Blood

Wolf’s Blood’ is the new EP from the New York -based, American melodic death metal duo. The band comprises vocalist and guitarist Daniel Shepard and drummer Chris Hawkins (ex-Midian). Their music is heavily influenced by the Gothenburg melodic death metal movement and they are inspired by bands such as At The Gates and Carcass.

This EP certainly does not lack aggression. Right from the opening riff on Never An Answer you are greeted by an onslaught of shredding guitars, blast beats and abrasive shouting. Yet in addition to the aggression, they also managed to sneak in some melodic guitar parts towards the latter half of the song adding some variety to the overall structure and pacing. The title track also features melodic undertones and lots of pace changes. The transitions between the vicious death metal and the melodic guitar work are very well timed. I particularly liked the acoustic guitar part at the end.

Just when you think that you know what Beyond Shadows is all about, they surprise you again. Based on what the first two tracks sounded like, the last thing that I expected was a keyboard intro on Regret Is My Name. It’s short but long enough to give the listener a chance to get ready for the next attack of thrashing guitars and blast beats. At The Gates made songs like this back in the ‘90s. Last but not least is Screaming Eyes (Go Unheard) which features another melodic guitar intro which reminded me of old Metallica for some reason. The guitar riffs are good but I could have done without the clean vocals.

In summary, ‘Wolf’s Blood’ is a well made melodic death metal EP, which is likely to please fans of Gothenburg variety of the genre. It has a few flaws but luckily they are minor and easy to overlook.

7/10

Iza Raittila

At The Gates and Behemoth live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates, Behemoth
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
30th January 2019

My first gig of 2019! I have been waiting for a long time for a chance to see Behemoth again. The last time I saw them live was Tuska Open Air 2012 on their first tour shortly after their front-man Nergal’s recovery from leukemia. I have kept up to date with all their releases and news and last year I could not believe my luck when I discovered that they are coming to my home town.

The venue was sold out on the night and the there was already a sizable crowd right from the start. I could not really get into the first band – Wolves In The Throne Room. Their sound can be described as a mixture of atmospheric black metal and dark ambient. Some of the songs they played were incredibly slow and more ambient than black metal. While this kind of music might be fine to listen to at home, it’s not really something that I want to hear live 2.5/5

I guess that most people who are into melodic death metal are familiar with At The Gates. They are after all one of the forefathers of the genre with some genre-defining releases to boot. This was not the first time that I have seen them live and I hope that it will not be my last. They had a few issues with their performances. First, their vocalist Tomas got the name of the city wrong, a minor mistake which he spent the rest of the night apologizing for. The other issue they had turned out to be more serious – a broken drum set.


It took some time to fix the problem but luckily they managed to sort it out in time to play a few more songs. A very good show overall despite the setbacks. 4/5

Finally came the moment I have been waiting seven years for. Behemoth started their set a little later than planned but it was definitely worth the extra time. They had an impressive amount of visuals and various props all contributing to a wonderful performance. They played some of the hits such as ‘Decade of Therion’(my personal favourite), ‘Chant For Eschaton 2000’, ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, ‘Lucifer’ along with lots of songs from the new album including ‘Bartzabel’ and ‘Wolves of Siberia. What a fantastic show! It was even better than the last time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary, the only band I did not enjoy watching live was Wolves In The Throne Room. It was a little too slow for my liking. At The Gates managed to overcome their technical problem and put on a great show. Behemoth were everything that I hoped for and more. I absolutely loved their show. This was their first time in Tampere and I really hope that they came back again in the future.

Iza Raittila

 

Iza’s Highlights of 2014 (part 1: Metal)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2014 by izaforestspirit

It’s been an eventful year for alternative music. Not only were there lots of great new albums and shows but also some old bands like At The Gates coming back after a long break. For this year’s summary I’ve decided to focus on the albums that caught my attention:

Best Metal albums

1. Behemoth – The Satanist
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

This is without doubt my favourite release of 2014 and the metal album which I’ve listened to the most this year. I simply can’t get enough it. It’s been five years since ‘Evangelion’ but it was definitely worth the wait. ‘The Satanist’ is multi-faceted and very complex as an album but that’s why I like it so much. It combines the brutality old Behemoth with the atmosphere and the “epic” feel of their newer work. Best tracks: ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’, ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’.

2. Vader – Tibi et Igni
Genre: Death Metal

The Polish death metal titans are back. I’ve been a fan of their music for over a decade. While I enjoyed their previous effort ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ it’s no much for this. In my opinion ‘Tibi et Igni’ is their best album after my all time favourite ‘ Black To The Blind’. If you’re a Vader like me then you probably know what to expect: aggressive and brutal death metal with thrash metal guitar mixed in. Best tracks: ”Go To Hell’, Hexenkessel’, ‘Triumph of Death’.

3. Kampfar – Djevelmakt
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

It’s been twenty years since Kampfar was formed and there’s no better way to celebrate the anniversary than with a new album. And what an album it is! ‘Djevelmakt’ is every bit as haunting and atmospheric as its predecessor ‘Mare’. Best tracks: ‘Mylder’ , ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, ‘Our Hounds, Our Legion’.

4. Sabaton – Heroes
Genre: Power Metal


Sabaton is one of the very few power metal bands I listen to. ‘Heroes’ might be a follow up to ‘Carolus Rex’ but it is very different both in terms of the themes and the overall structure. Here each song tells a story, of an individual or small group whose actions left their mark on history. Best tracks: ‘Nightwitches’, ‘To Hell and Back’ and ‘Resist and Bite’.

5. At The Gates – At War Reality
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


It’s been a while…These guys haven’t released an album since ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ back in 1995. What ever their reasons were for such a long break, I’m just glad that they’re back. The new album ‘At War With Reality’ combines the older style with their more experimental phase ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. Best tracks ‘Heroes and Tombs’ and ‘The Night Eternal’.

6. Metsatöll – Karjajuht
Genre: Folk Metal


The Estonian wolf-pack have returned. Like it’s predecessor ‘Ulg’, this album follows their tried and tested formula of catchy heavy metal with traditional Estonian folk instruments. Best tracks: ‘Külmking’ and ‘Lööme mesti’ (featuring Jonne Järvelä from Korpiklaani).

7. Vallenfyre – Splinters
Genre: Death/ Doom Metal


This band first got my attention due to the impressive line-up; it features members of both Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride as well as Adrian Erlandsson on drums. In many ways it reminds me of old Entombed, Celtic Frost as well as as the early works of Paradise Lost. Best tracks: ‘Bereft’ and ‘Splinters’.

Stay tuned for part 2: Industrial edition coming soon.

At The Gates live in Tampere, Finland

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , on 21st November 2014 by izaforestspirit

Rotten Sound, At The Gates
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
20th November 2014

The Swedish melodic death metal legends haven’t played a club gig in Finland for nineteen years and last night was the first night of their tour. This was also the first time that they played the new songs live. The venue was absolutely packed.

The warm-up was a Finnish grindcore band Rotten Sound. They were only on for about half an hour but since their average song lasts about two minutes, I’m guessing that’s long enough by their standards. I’m not the biggest fan of grindcore so I didn’t really enjoy their show that much. Like most grindcore, this was suitably fast, furious and aggressive which, based on the reaction of the crowd, must have pleased their fans. 2/5

At The Gates

Based on how comfortable these guys looked on stage it makes you wonder why they took such a long break from touring. What ever their reasons, I’m just glad that they are back with a new album and newly found energy to put on a great performance. They played a mixture of new and old tracks including: ‘At War With Reality’, ‘Heroes and Tombs’ and ‘The Night Eternal’ from the new album along with some old classics such as ‘Kingdom Gone’, ‘The Burning Darkness’, ‘Terminal Spirit Disease’, ‘World of Lies’ and ‘Under A Serpent Sun’.



It was a really good show. I’m really tempted check out their new album now. 5/5

Iza Raittila

At The Gates release new video for ‘Heroes and Tombs’

Posted in Misc., News with tags on 21st November 2014 by izaforestspirit

Swedish melodic death metal legends At The Gates have returned. They have released a new, animated video for the track ‘Heroes and Tombs’. Check it out here:

‘Heroes and Tombs’ is taken from their new album At War With Reality via Century Media Records.

http://atthegates.se/
https://www.facebook.com/AtTheGatesOfficial

Beyond Grace – Monstrous [EP]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 25th April 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Beyond Grace
Monstrous
Released February 2014
Extreme melodic death metal
Self-released

It’s with no mean frequency that the phrase ‘If it ain’t got riff, it ain’t worth a fuck!’ tumbles from these lips. Nothing turns me off from an extreme band more than constant noise or technicality for the sake of it. It just doesn’t spell out H-E-A-V-Y to me. Some of my favourite metal albums are those that punch a middle finger into the face of convention, blast beats swirling effortlessly into percussive grooves. Think Carcass Heartwork or Bloodbath‘s opus The Fathomless Mastery (especially At The Behest Of The Dead! Damn! That chorus!).

It’s such a shame that the UK bands taking this particular musical bull by the horns are vastly outnumbered by those who pump out the same old trend-oriented metal pudding as everyone else, but those who do tend to hit me in a special place.

Step up, Nottingham’s Beyond Grace – a band who seem to have set out to make writing an actual tune part of their purpose for existence. From the first moments of opening track The Chronophage – which I believe roughly means ‘the time-eater’ – it’s obvious that this lot don’t care much for fitting in to the preconceived notions of either the current UK death scene or mainstream extreme metal (Yup, I said it. It’s a thing now!), while brushing shoulders with both. The song is an easy choice for an opener, kicking off with a bombastic announcement of power-chords, shamelessly declaring “We are here! Listen!”, but it’s the intelligent introduction of complementary lead-work that really makes it stand out.

And they’re no one-trick-pony, either. Progressing to the accompanying tracks, Inhumanity and Invasive Exotics, they churn out riff after riff of addictive, individual brutality. While more consistently fast-paced, these two numbers guide the listener through a bit of an experiment in combining elements of rhythmic divergence and harmonious exaltation. The entire EP is dripping with all the best bits of At The Gates, Lamb Of God and The Haunted, without really sounding like any of them. I think I even sense the echoes of 80s thrash in there, but that could just be decades-old tinnitus.

It’s also worthy of note that frontman Andy Walmsley is one of the few who can really nail down clarity of lyrical content while dealing in full-on death metal vocals. It’s not something that everybody will care about, and to be fair, I do love a whole load of bands who haven’t achieved this, but I find it adds a little something being able tap into the story aspect of a heavy song on first listen.

I’d really like to hear full-length continuation of this style, but maybe with a more aggressive, rawer production, as it feels something is missing in terms of bite, and the whole thing is over far too soon for my liking. That said, this is a gripping, memorable release, proving, to these ears at least, that you don’t have to ditch any sense of melody and/or hooks to keep up with the pace of modern heaviness. More of this kind of thing!

4/5

Paul Macmillan

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Iliac Thorns – IT

Posted in Review with tags , on 29th June 2013 by izaforestspirit

Iliac Thorns
IT
Released 20th May 2013
Melodic Death Metal/ Metal-core
Released via Inverse Records

 photo Iliac_Thorns_IT_zps779159a9.jpg

‘IT’ is the debut album from the Finnish melodic death metal band Iliac Thorns. It is the follow up to their demo ‘Prevailing Shapes of Hell’ which came out last year.

After several listens I can safely say that I tried, and I really did try…to find something positive to say about this album. The fact is that to call Iliac Thorns’ style “melodic death metal” or even “blackened melo-death” is a classic case of wishful thinking. What we’re dealing with here is mostly metal-core with the very occasional hint of At The Gates -style melodic death metal.

The biggest downside of this album are the vocals which resemble the grunts and squeals of a pig at times. This really is a shame as some of the music, particularly the guitars, is actually pretty good. Take Kammiovärinä for instance, it features some catchy guitar riffs in the intro and some of the vocal patterns remind me of old works by At The Gates. Then there’s Itsetuntosi, one of the fewtracks on here to feature any melodic elements. It’s just a shame that the melodic guitars are only present in the first half of the song and it’s not long until the pace changes paving the way for more metal-core.

Overall this is a difficult album to listen to if you’re familiar with good, old school melodic death metal. I’d strongly suggest to these guys to check out bands such as At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity if they wish to continue along this path.

2/5

Iza Raittila

At The Gates announced as mainstage headliner for Northern Darkness

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 22nd May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Swedish death metal legends At The Gates have been announced as the headliners for this year’s Northern Darkness Festival, marking the band’s first Newcastle show in almost 20 years. Other bands on the bill include, but are not limited to: Dyscarnate, Bloodshot Dawn, Old Corpse Road, Decapitated, Napalm Death and many more.

The festival will take place at the Northumbria University in Newcastle on Sunday 8th December. Tickets are available from this location.

The Northern Darkness Festival online:

http://www.northerndarkness.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/NorthernDarknessFestival

 

Burial Vault – Incendium

Posted in Review with tags , , on 27th April 2013 by izaforestspirit

Burial Vault
Incendium
Released 24th May
Melodic Death Metal
Released via Apostasy Records

 photo cdarc010_burialvault_inc_scaledjpg_zps6dbd6e5f.jpg

Incendium is the second album from the German melodic death metal band Burial Vault. It is the follow up to last year’s debut release ‘Ekpyrosis (Periodic Destruction)’. This album was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s famous book ‘Fahrenheit 451’.

Straight from the off it’s clear that Incendium is true to its namesake. The intro to the opening track The Stench Of Burning Thoughts features what sounds like the striking of a match followed by the sounds of a fire burning. The music itself is fairly standard melodic death metal complete with a mixture of growls, semi-shouts and mid-paced guitar riffs. Then there are thrashy, more melodic guitar patterns which remind me a little of old In Flames with hints of At The Gates. The short instrumental Soil & Green is a good example of this.

Speaking of the guitar styles, these guys like to use the occasional stop-start patterns on tracks such as Peculiar and The Nightly Horror. The aforementioned Peculiar takes a turn for the worse half-way through the track as the vocals suddenly shift from growling to clear. Luckily this change is only temporary. The album also has a few surprises such as the sample-infused, atmospheric Prelude To Peripety sandwiched between two death metal tracks. The rest of the album follows the tried and tested formula of melodic death metal. Other noteworthy tracks include Catharsis which features some thrash metal style guitar riffage giving the song a somewhat catchy feel, and closing song Black Into White which features some catchy guitar solos combined with some acoustic guitar melodies towards the end.

Overall it’s fairly evident that Burial Vault have been influenced by melo-death acts such as In Flames and At The Gates. Having said that, Burial Vault are definitely not a clone of these two bands thanks to the acoustic and atmospheric elements in their music. I’m just not convinced that there’s enough variety here to set this album apart from other melodic-death metal releases out there.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Five new additions for Damnation Festival

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

The UK’s darkest festival, Damnation, will proudly host two rare live outings this year, as extreme metal ‘supergroup’ Vallenfyre and experimental rock ensemble Crippled Black Phoenix perform at the event.

They will be joined in Leeds University Union on Saturday, November 2nd, by Romanian progressive black metallers Negura Bunget, English doom trio Moss and the sonic assault of Paul Catten’s The Sontaran Experiment (Anyone else seeing the Doctor Who reference?).

Vallenfyre – featuring members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and At The Gates – will play their only UK show of 2013 at Damnation Festival, which will also be their first appearance outside London. Founding member and vocalist Greg Mackintosh said: “Since our first UK show last year at Boltfest, we have been looking to follow it up with a northern show. Being asked to play Damnation Festival provides us with the perfect opportunity. We are looking forward to spreading some filth and meeting up with some old compadres.

Negura Bunget will also be playing the festival as an exclusive date. Drummer Negru said: “Damnation is going to be our one and only UK concert in 2013 so we will definitely make it count! Be prepared for a very special Negura Bunget performance, with one of a kind exclusive previews. And doom laden Moss also promised to make a lasting impression, as the band said: “It’s been over 10 years since we last played in the north, in a squat in Manchester in front of eight people. So we look forward to finally bringing our doom and gloom back to the northern wastes at Damnation. You are in for a fucking horrible night.

Tickets for Damnation Festival 2013 are on sale now and will be held at last year’s price of £32 until this Sunday, March 31st. The full Damnation line-up is as follows: CarcassVallenfyreCrippled Black PhoenixNegura BungetMossThe Sontaran Experiment.

To buy tickets, visit Leeds Tickets , the official Damnation Festival website at this location or the official Damnation Facebook.

 

Aeon prepared to unleash the sonic severity of their fourth full-length

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 24th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Aeon, are pleased to unveil the details of their fourth studio offering , Aeons Black. Set to drop via Metal Blade Records on November 22, 2012, the mammoth 15-track Aeons Black was recorded at Empire Studio in Östersund, Sweden, engineered, mixed and mastered by Ronnie Björnström (Garageland Studios) and features cover art by Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin (Bathory, At The Gates, Dissection, Emperor et al).

Notes founding guitarist Zeb Nilsson of their latest offering of irreverence: “This is definitely our most varied albums to date; it has heavier songs yet it also has lots of fast blastbeats and double bass drumming. It’s groovier this time, which I think we lacked on our last album, Path of Fire, which was fast paced almost all the way through. That and the amazing mix by Ronnie Björnström makes me feel pretty confident that this album will appeal to more people than our previous albums. And no, we have not gone softer in any aspect; it’s just easier to catch with all this grooviness. It’s metal right up your ass!”

The first single, title track Aeons Black, premieres today via the band’s official landing page. Comments guitarist Daniel Dlimi of the tune: “‘Aeons Black’ is the first song that I started to work on as we began writing for this album, and it’s also one of the very last to get finished. My goal was to create a somewhat heavier, odder, not-so-typical Aeon song. Once happy with the musical arrangement, I handed it over to [vocalist] Tommy [Dahlstöm] to let him write some lyrics and vocal patterns for it. He managed to get it even darker and more eerie. The lyrics are all about how everything living eventually must face the inevitable, which is death. There will be no savior, no heaven nor hell… just a pitch black, silent empty void.

Witness the sonic severity of Aeons Black as well as pre-order info here.

Aeons Black track listing:

01. Still They Pray
02. The Glowing Hate
03. The Voice of the Accuser
04. I Wish You Death
05. Garden of Sin
06. Neptune the Mystic
07. Nothing Left to Destroy
08. Passage to Hell
09. Aeons Black
10. Dead Means Dead
11. Sacrificed
12. Aftermath
13. Blessed By the Priest
14. Maze of the Damned
15. Die By My Hands

Catch Aeon live in the UK and Ireland in January:

Aeon + Dyscarnate + Ageless Oblivion

January 2013

16th LONDON – Garage

17th CARDIFF – Bogiez 18th

LIMERICK – Venue TBC

19th DUBLIN – The Pint

20th BELFAST – Voodoo

21st LIVERPOOL – the Lomax

22nd BRISTOL – The Croft

23rd PLYMOUTH – White Rabbit